Blackjack is one of the few games where the player can have an advantage over the casino. However, very very few blackjack players have the skill to beat the casino on a regular basis.
A blackjack player who can play using perfect blackjack strategy then learn to count cards and spread bets appropriately can indeed beat the casino. The problem is that this is difficult for the vast majority of blackjack players. It’s even more difficult for blackjack hobbyists who only play a few times a year.
Blackjack players around the country have visions of taking down the casino. Unfortunately, there are very few who actually have all of the skills and money needed to have all that much impact on the bottom line of a casino.
Since playing with the perfect basic strategy is a key to counting cards all players should start their journey here. If nothing else, playing the perfect basic strategy will reduce the house edge for the casino as low as it can go.
This will allow recreational blackjack players to get the best bang for their buck in the casino. This will also allow a player who wants to practice card counting to eventually take their game to the next level.
Do Card Counters Win?
Card counters can certainly win at the casino on a regular basis. However, they have to play perfect basic strategy and use their card counting skills.
A recent article about casino surveillance and card counting was a good reminder about how difficult being a professional blackjack player can be. The first useful reminder in the article comes from a long-time casino veteran highlighting how card counters do against the casino.
“An overwhelming majority of persons who try to learn card counting lose money.”
The article goes into more detail on card counters. Many of these remarks resemble what I’ve heard over the years from players, dealers, pit bosses, and casino executives.
The info isn’t a perfect representation of card counters in the US. However, it’s a fair approximation of how different levels of card counters perform in casinos.
- Novice card counters: These gamblers will “lose money at the same rate as the average blackjack player.”
- Experienced, but not professional card counters: These players will “break even at best.”
- Professional card counters: There are around 100 professionals on this continent.
Even if 100 professional blackjack players is on the low side, there aren’t nearly as many as many recreational gamblers think.
While striving to be the best blackjack player isn’t a bad thing, it’s good to remember that there are few who can make a living playing blackjack games.
Learning To Counting Cards
Counting cards is difficult and learning the skill takes a lot of practice. This information shouldn’t discourage anyone from taking a shot at glory to become one of the few card counters that can regularly profit from playing blackjack.
The fact that experienced but recreational blackjack players break even at best is a good reminder that perfecting the basic strategy for blackjack will suffice for most players. A player maximizing their basic strategy skills, in theory, will win as often as an unskilled card counter.
Truth be told perfecting the basic strategy for blackjack is the first step in learning to count cards. You can find basic strategy tips here.
Once you perfect the basic strategy, head to the card counting section of this website. An experienced blackjack dealer lays out a very detailed guide on counting cards here.
There are five steps to learning the basics of counting cards:
- Assigning Card Value
- Counting Cards
- True Count
- Deviations or Indices
- Bet Spreads
This is a breakdown of counting cards for beginners. There are subsections for each step. The page offers even more card counting methods for anyone looking for a different way to take the next step in being a profitable blackjack player.